Your ultimate guide to the Porsche 911 GT3
All you need to know about an icon that blurs the line between road and racecars
Green Porsche 911 GT3 (type 992) exits hairpin bend
Consumption and emission information 911 GT3 (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 13,0 - 12,9 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 294 - 293 g/km; CO₂ class: G.
Since it was first launched in 1999, the 911 GT3 has become a highly visible – and audible – symbol of how Porsche motorsport technology feeds into the company’s legendary sportscar
Few cars have gained the iconic status and enduring popularity as the Porsche 911. Since 1963, it’s been synonymous with outstanding engineering, timeless yet evolutionary design and pure driving pleasure. A true game changer. But within this classification there are game changing variants themselves – and none more so than the 911 GT3. Ever since its debut in 1999, the 911 GT3 has harnessed the expertise gleaned from Porsche’s significant motorsport heritage to help push the boundaries of what can be done with a road-going sportscar. It’s set benchmark after benchmark – with each update a showcase for cutting edge sportscar technology. Others have tried to replicate its unique blend of revolutionary sportscar design and race bred power. But there is only one 911 GT3 – and this is its story.
Silver Porsche 911 GT3 (type 996) driving on the road
The first GT3 was based on the type 996 Porsche 911 and was launched in 1999
What was the first ever Porsche 911 GT3? For many years, the Porsche sportscars that best represented the synergy between the brand’s production and racing cars were its RS models – cars like the inimitable 911 Carrera RS 2.7, for example. But in 1999, the line between the two categories became further blurred with the launch of the 911 GT3, based on the type 996 generation of the legendary road-going sportscar. This was a brand-new idea for Porsche and its customers – a track-focused, road-legal 911 that was directly based on the 911 GT3 Cup racing car, using the expertise of Porsche Motorsport. Just a year previously, the GT3 Cup car that it was based on was driven in the Porsche Supercup season that had supported Formula 1 events. Now, the essence of that hugely successful race car was available to buy and drive on the road.The 911 GT3 (type 996) kept the racecar’s celebrated ‘Mezger’ 3.6-litre, naturally aspirated engine. With its roots in the 1998 Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 car, this engine was the throbbing heart of the 911 GT3. Innovative, racecar-bred technology helped keep the weight of the GT3 down and also helped cool it – vital for cars with such huge reserves of power on tap. Further game changing sportscar tech, like the installation of a racing clutch, provided virtually instant response for GT3 drivers. Other features included lowered suspension that was set up in a way that full race tyres could be fitted if desired. There was also an adjustable rear wing that allowed enthusiastic owners to adjust the amount of downforce over the rear axle. The design of the rear wing for each generation of GT3 has been a source of fascination for fans and customers ever since.The term “race car for the road” has become something of a cliché, but it was never more appropriate than in this first-ever 911 GT3. Driving enthusiasts had access to a sportscar that was inexorably linked to the car that competed in motorsport and the 911 GT3 became an instant hit. So much so that the initial run of 1,350 units had to be extended to 1,868 to cope with the demand. 
The Porsche 911 GT3 (997) parked up with mountains behind
The 911 GT3 (type 997) – the second iteration of the model – featured even more innovations initially developed for Porsche racecars than its predecessor
What was the successor to the 911 GT3 (type 996)?Once the GT3 was released to the world, Porsche soon realised that it needed to ride the wave of its popularity by continuing to evolve it. In 2003, four years after its initial launch, the 996 GT3 was upgraded with more power (increased from 360PS to 381PS), new headlights and a modified rear wing, as well as the option of Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes. That same year, the very first GT3 RS model was introduced. This was even more track-focused and lightweight, with carbon brakes, a polycarbonate window and a bonnet and rear wing made from carbon fibre. Those that had really embraced the high-end performance philosophy of the GT3 now had another, even more focused model to choose.But by then, Porsche had already started thinking about the successor to the 996 GT3. The 911 (type 997) was launched in 2004, and the new 911 GT3 based on it arrived just two years later. As well as boasting all the benefits of the 997 models, the GT3 variant had a new 3.6-litre engine with 415PS which dropped the 0-100km/h sprint time from 4.5 seconds to just 4.3 seconds, as well as boosting the top speed to 310km/h. The black-painted radiator vent in front of the luggage compartment lid, which has since become something of a GT3 hallmark, made its first appearance in the 997 GT3.How did Porsche revolutionise aerodynamics with the 911 GT3?But perhaps, more than anything else, what really moved the game on for the 997 GT3 was its aerodynamics. By adding a new front spoiler lip and an enhanced rear wing, as well as an additional spoiler that featured a Gurney flap, Porsche designers managed to reduce aerodynamic lift to zero. It was the first time that had been achieved on a production model. Up until this point, lift had long been a problem for performance car designers, as it effected the stability of vehicles at high speeds. Such a breakthrough meant that the 997 GT3 was incredibly composed and nimble when driven fast – both in a straight line and through the corners. It was all thanks to the introduction of Porsche Active Suspension Management as standard. The new GT3 was also given the RS treatment at the same time. For the 997 GT3 RS, its rear track was widened by 44mm to improve roll stability, while the weight was reduced by 20kg by way of a lightweight wing, rear window and seats, and extensive use of carbon fibre.
White Porsche 911 GT3 (type 991) parked in a garage
The 911 GT3 (type 991) gained an all-new engine that revved up to 9,000rpm
When the 997 model range was given a facelift in 2009, the GT3 received a larger 3.8-litre engine which produced 435PS (450PS in the GT3 RS). And in 2011, the 997 GT3 had its swansong in the form of the GT3 RS 4.0. Just 600 were made, with power boosted to 500PS from an engine unchanged from the 911 RSR race car, with bespoke suspension and an intensive weight-saving regime. Links with Porsche Motorsport were helping bring levels of performance to roadgoing 911 sportscars that were previously unthought of.Which engine did the 991 GT3 use?In 2013 the next generation of 911, the type 991, was given the GT3 treatment (with the RS version following in 2015). The 991 GT3 was once again powered by a 3.8-litre engine, but it was an all-new unit, using direct injection and revving to a raucous 9,000rpm. Peak power was 475PS (500PS in the RS), giving it a 100km/h sprint of just 3.5 seconds (or 3.4 seconds in the RS). While some 911 fans raised eyebrows at the introduction of a seven-speed PDK transmission – the only gearbox option for this particular model – it was undoubtedly the best choice for pure performance.However, when the 991.2 model appeared four years later with a 500PS 4.0-litre engine, a manual option was reintroduced. It meant that those who preferred option of the most mechanical interaction possible could find what they were after with the GT3, while those that wanted the maximum performance could still achieve that by choosing a car fitted with a PDK gearbox.
Blue Porsche 911 GT3 Touring (type 991) in a studio
With the 911 (type 991) a GT3 Touring was introduced for those who sought more subtle looks than other GT3 models
New for this generation was a GT3 variant aimed at those that wanted something more understated. For all its talents, with its standout wings and spoilers the standard GT3 was not a car for those who wanted to blend in on the road. The new GT3 Touring followed the lead of the 911 R by dressing more conservatively but kept much of the raw ability of the GT3. It got rid of the large rear wing in favour of the extending wing seen on the 911 Carrera GTS but with an added extra gurney flap. A more subtle option, yes – but it still boasted performance to make the pulses of even the coolest of drivers to beat frantically.The 991.2 GT3 RS appeared in 2018 and followed a by now familiar recipe by upping the power by 20PS, upgrading the suspension and reducing weight. An optional Weissach package gave consumers the chance to add extra carbon fibre components, lightweight BBS magnesium wheels and stiffer suspension.
Rear three-quarter view of Porsche 911 GT3 (type 992)
The 911 GT3 (type 992) is the latest and fastest version of the GT3. Its swan neck rear wing is just one of its many head-turning innovations
What is the Porsche 992 GT3?Since 2021, the type 992 generation of the 911 GT3 and its Touring variant has been on sale – a car that continues to dive ever deeper into the vast reservoir of Porsche Motorsport knowledge. It kept the 4.0-litre engine, now tuned to 510PS, but introduced double wishbone front suspension for the first time on a production 911. Downforce has been dramatically increased by way of a new swan neck rear wing, a functional rear diffuser and an adjustable front diffuser, all taken from the 911 RSR racecar.
Porsche 911 GT3 (type 992) taking off over Nürburgring crest
In 2021, Porsche test driver Lars Kern went under the seven-minute mark around the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring in a 911 GT3 (type 992)
As an indication of how far the GT3 has evolved since the first time we saw it appear back in 1999 was in early 2021. That’s when Porsche test driver Lars Kern, who holds many Porsche lap records at the Nürburgring, took the 992 model onto the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring and set a lap time of 6min 59.927sec – more than a minute faster than the 996 GT3 on the same circuit. Meanwhile, 2022 saw the introduction of the new GT3 RS. Its 4.0-litre, high-revving, naturally aspirated 525PS engine can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.2 seconds. A sportscar that Porsche test driver Jörg Bergmeister calls “the best-handling 911 road car ever on a racetrack” – although, being street-legal, the 911 GT3 RS is every bit as happy on the road. Just like all GT3 models.With every new version of the 911 GT3, engineers continue to further push the boundaries of what a sportscar can achieve. Each new GT3 will continue to evolve, with lessons learned from relentless competition on racing circuits around the world and applying new techniques and technologies to cars that thrill drivers on the open road. Motorsport is deep within Porsche DNA, alongside engineering and performance excellence. It’s hard to imagine a clearer indication of this ethos than with the unrivalled history of the 911 GT3.
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